Quickie FAQ

Where do I find one? How do I try one? How do I get one?

Birdsongs are not sold in stores; you deal with the makers before, during, and after the sale. You might find an owner on a message board, there is talk out there and Birdsong owners are VERY happy. Everyone world wide now enjoying their Birdsong took the same chance you're considering, to order from us. It's a pretty safe bet you'll like it! Ask around...  what it comes down to is taking a chance based on what we build, our reputation, and the fact that if you don't like it we  don't make you keep it. The reputation of our instruments for being "the one" when they show up, and our customer  service, is all out there for the research. We're a known company with a renown product and this is our life. I cannot put you in touch with an owner, but you can find hundreds of them online at Talkbass (there are threads about us) and you can ask them for informed first-hand opinions (the only kind that matter) and about getting together.

How can a short scale really sound that good? 

Truth to me is what comes out of the speaker, and I was going for a full, round low end - woody, vocal midrange - and a sweet high end that had clarity but wasn't overly brittle. That's what I got. How? I voiced everything that way; I didn't start with a full scale and try to make it smaller and lose a bunch of tone, I started with my early short prototypes and worked to enhance where I thought they needed enhancing. Pickups, where they are, the values of the components, the materials and construction, other components... it's like being a chef. Forget what the pickups are (they don't know), tiny details of numbers and millimeters (it's a whole), brand this (it has no idea)... a Birdsong is a complete system that works.

Does anyone famous play your basses?

Sure, but that's not any kind of legitimization. Famous players like to get their stuff for free. Yes it's exposure, but
to me, it's distasteful to have a shill, no matter how much exposure I get, saying my stuff is good just because he gets it
for free. That's like a trophy girlfriend around just for the money. Now some famous players are good folks who just
happen to be famous... Tom Blankenship from My Morning Jacket has some, Marciano from Los Enanitos Verdes is a
huge fan, and there are others. All who bought their basses and rave about them because they truly love them...
the only legitimate "endorsement." I'm thrilled to see my work played for and moving 80,000 people and I'm
equally thrilled about YOU loving it in your living room. It's that love that matters more than anything else.

What body and color options / pickup options are there?

Pretty much what you see on the site. We do OUR body shapes, no copies. We do natural wood with the occasional
brown or dark stain; no colors other than the natural wood as ambered by our hand rubbed oil finish. Pickups?
Each model has its pickups that were chosen to get the desired tones. Nothing is just "put in" without thought
and refinement. I'm working on having good sound samples up and quality video demos soon.

Can I endorse your basses?

99% of the time this translates to "Can I weasel a bass for free if I promise to plug it for you?" So let's come clean. No. What this means is that anyone you DO see playing a Birdsong bought & paid for it and plays it because they love it! It's a little thing called integrity - often at odds with commerce but, you know, I can live with that. It's not a game. We generally don't give our instruments away. I can count the number on one hand with fingers left over, and they were personal gifts, not "endorsers." This is what we do for a living, and our Good Work. It is what we offer to the world and in return we eat. "Well if you give me a bass I can sell a bunch for you!" Maybe so, but then they're buying them just because you've been seen with one, not because it means anything to them. And for you session guys, a true "professional courtesy" is to pay what's required for a professional tool, just as you like to be paid what you're worth for a professional session. :) When I go see a band I know, I'll pay to get in. I don't want something for free. That's how you support something you believe in. Nothing personal folks, just being real with you...

I'm really picky and have to have the _____ to my exact specifications...

Birdsongs are loved because of how well they work, and anything we mess with has a Rubik's Cube effect. They're already designed; if they look the least bit promising to you, be open minded to what they may bring to your world in
spite of a detail or two you might see as the biggest thing in the universe. I respect that, but sometimes trying something can be the way the best things in life bring you answers to questions you never even thought of. You've got to feel it as a whole. If it doesn't do it for you, I promise you won't be stuck with it. 

How do I order one?

You contact us, and together we figure out which model and what options suit your needs and satisfy your wants. We take half payment through a variety of ways and give you a rough time estimate and a serial number. You can watch your instrument come together on the Client Page, and when it's just about ready I'll hit you up for the balance. Then we pack it like it's getting dropped into Istanbul and ship it to you. 

All payments are made to Wingfeather Enterprises, that's our legal name. 
Checks can be mailed to
PO Box 1745 Wimberley, TX 78676.

When you're ready to order, please understand we are both committing to the build. If something comes up and you cannot complete the order financially, I cannot refund you - I will finish the instrument, sell it in inventory, and pay you back out of that less 10% of what you paid. I have empathy, but I'm not a bank you can just withdraw funds from.

We give you 7 days to fall in love with it; if it just isn't right for you, let me know, pack it up like it was and send it fully insured to our physical address which I'll give you at that time. We'll sell it in inventory (usually pretty quickly; we've sold everything we've ever made!) and refund you less all shipping costs. It will be by check from Wingfeather Enterprises.

Information for new clients

This can serve as a reference during the process.

Communication is best done through a call to the workshop (512.392.4400) or email to info@birdsongguitars.com. Sometimes it takes a few days to get back with you, if you don't hear from me please resend. As a public email address we have an aggressive SPAM filter that sometimes snags the good ones too! We have no set hours in here but mornings are best.

We may have discussed a time frame for your build, and I might have given you a guesstimate based on how things look right now. But the parts of this process that are in our hands are the only ones we control; the rest, like life, changes by the day and we roll with it. We appreciate you rolling with us as we do! We want it finished as quickly as possible but it will take as long as it takes to do it right. Most of your wait will be getting to your build.

Things happen with a flow that only makes sense from in here. When it flows, it's fun and our best work is done. We group, sub-group, bring forward or hold back whatever of whichever build can be paired with a like task in the workshop; we don't build in linear serial number order and they don't leave that way.

I commit to building you the absolute finest instrument we can and providing you with the best service possible. Your commitment is to see the process through to the end. After your payment we're in this together and a bass will be built. If you change your mind or something financially comes up during the build, I cannot refund your payment. I can complete the build, sell it through inventory, and reimburse you less 10% out of that. If you are tentative about ordering, I'm happy to talk through your concerns with you and our reputation speaks for itself. 

Changes to your order are fine, they're usually not a problem at all. Additional time or cost may result depending on what the changes are. And if you change it a lot during the process, it does tend to get complicated to keep straight... but I'm happy to accommodate whatever you think will suit you best. I work for you and want to make you happy!

You can look up your Birdsong build's progress at www.birdsongguitars.com/client.htm. I update the page weekly and you may pull the pictures off for an album or repost elsewhere as you wish. It takes a while sometimes to get started as there are many other builds going and factors involved. 

The serial number: The first 2 digits are the anticipated year of completion (towards the end of the year these can and do change either way depending on supplies and work flow); the letter(s) the model. C for Cortobass, H for Hy5, etc. The remaining number is the sequential number of this model since we started making it. 

Sometimes there will be weeks with no new pictures of your bass, but others are getting built. It'll all get done and be well worth the wait. The call or email WILL come from me to talk about the final payment, any last minute details, verify shipping address etc. and then your instrument is just about done. When it is ready, we ship on the next Monday. Shipping in the Continental USA is included in the price. Alaska, Hawaii, and International shipping, as well as overnight or 2-day guarantee service, is an additional charge. I charge you what they charge me at time of shipping, as it might be a different number than months earlier when we started. I don't control that cost, just pass it on.

When we ship, we ONLY use FedEx and insure for the full amount. Which means for international shipments you pay a little more for shipping and a bit more to Customs, but the instrument is fully protected and - should anything happen - FedEx is much more professional to deal with than the others. For our International clients I'm happy to provide all paperwork necessary to clear Customs. To find out what the duties and taxes will be, please contact your country's Customs agency. For Canada shipments I provide a Certificate Of Origin that should get you out of some duties.

How are your short scales different than others?

Design & execution.

Why aren't they $500?

Because everything isn't Chinese or Wal-Mart quality. We don't market cheap crap - we MAKE things from high-end materials and expensive American components. We're pros and we eat off of this - just like you get a paycheck too. 

Questions about price always come up when talking about anything more than discount superstore products, which have become the norm and standard. Rolls Royces, fine clothing, independent wine, hand made art... these cost.

Some choose a less expensive instrument that suits their needs, that's great. Some have to, not everyone can afford something high end. There's nothing wrong with that. But for those interested or who can swing it, or even just wish to be educated about the differences, here are what goes in... 

Putting aside any talk of intent and energy, merely comparing the probable results in workmanship between a factory worker making a dollar an hour somewhere far away where guitars aren't even a part of the culture, working for a huge company taking orders based on the lowest build price per unit... vs a luthier or luthier-run small workshop somewhere that has a known standard of quality in their tools or instruments or whatever they make... there is going to be a difference. 

Attention to detail - Materials - Parts quality - Skill of the worker - Workmanship -  Design - Kind of manufacture - Place of manufacture (environmental / worker concerns)... all factors. The guitars that are everywhere are everywhere because they're factory manufactured in tremendous numbers and cover wide price points, so they're seen everywhere - in the $199 and the $1900 versions, which to folks who may not know what's under the paint, appear to be the same.

Even amongst small company hand made instruments, there are plenty of hobbyists who build out of their basements when they get home from the day job, sell for a bit less, and are many times found on message boards among non-builders pontificating on what everything else should cost and how everyone else should be building. Some can build a decent instrument, others are more homemade than handmade. But at the end of the day, they're doing more posting than carving. Their legacy will be 8000 posts on Talkbass. I'd rather have a thousand instruments out there and spend myself on making that happen.

That's what you pay for. 

Why aren't they $5000?

Hey, I begrudge nobody their right to a fair profit (you don't work for free either, so neither should you) but I have to sleep at night.

As a matter of fact, yes!

Lefties. Fretless. Fretless with lines. Piccolo versions. Inspiration & a pep talk (no charge) - A little professional advice (my honor to help) - Consultation & design services (I've wound up with a pretty good overview of this stuff from the designing to the shop setup, building, business, marketing and retail store level...). Licensing of our designs & patents.

Sorry, no.

Paint. Colored stains. Active electronics. Fender type pickups. Client shapes. Other companies' shapes. Other headstocks. Tremolo systems. Apprenticeships. Endorsements. Necks. Scales other than our proprietary 31" (for 32", try SD Curlee; 34", Brady Muckelroy). Glossy thick plastic finishes. Fancy custom pearl inlays. LEDs.


More words on more details than most really want to know about us & our basses can be found here. Thanks so much for your interest!